Doctor slump

Doctor Slump is a romantic comedy that recently debuted on Netflix. It centers on the lives of two ambitious students who want to be the best surgeons in the world. Starring well-known names like Park Hyung-sik and Park Shin-hye, the series is directed by Oh Hyun-jong. After many years, at their lowest points in life (after graduating from school), Ha-neul and Jeong-woo cross paths. This series highlights how, as we become older, life becomes more difficult for us. As we become older, life places a lot of pressure on us. Jeong-woo and Ha-neul were going through comparable life crises.

Main Cast:

Park Shin-hye, Park Hyung-sik, Yoon Park, Kong Seong-ha, Jang Hye-jin, Hyun Bong-sik

Supporting Cast:

  • Jang Hye-jin: Plays Kong Wol-Seon, Ha-neul’s mother
  • Yoon Sang-Hyeon: Plays Nam Ba-da, Ha-neul’s younger brother
  • Hyun Bong-sik: Plays Kong Tae-seon, Ha-neul’s maternal uncle

Episode 1: How Did Jeong-Woo’s Life Change?

In 2009, we found Ha-neul studying hard at a school in Busan. She’s always been at the top of her class, and her achievements are celebrated by her mother and uncle, who distribute free food to celebrate her success. At home, Ha-neul witnesses her aunts arguing over a factory left by her late father. She suggests to her mother they should sell the factory, divide the proceeds among her aunts, and move to Seoul. Her dream is to attend Hanguk National University, the top medical school in the country. Eventually, they move to Seoul, and Ha-neul starts at a new school.

How Did Jeong-Woo’s Life Change?

Jeong-woo was the top student at her new school, but everyone was surprised to see how dedicated Ha-neul was to her studies. She was incredibly hardworking, refusing to waste even a moment of her time. Her goal was to surpass Jeong-woo and become the top student in the class. Ha-neul’s determination impressed everyone, as she gave Jeong-woo serious competition.

She was so focused on her studies that she didn’t have much time for socializing. Ha-neul exercised while studying to improve her concentration and ran home to maximize her study time. She had some quirky habits too, like eating dry instant coffee to reduce her need to use the bathroom and only allowing herself seven minutes to eat her meals. Ha-neul also stuck to easily digestible foods to avoid any discomfort while studying. Her organization and dedication to her studies were remarkable.

Jeong-woo’s life drastically changed when a woman from Macau visited him regarding a contouring surgery. Tragically, during the surgery, the patient passed away due to severe bleeding, leaving Jeong-woo feeling helpless. As the investigation unfolded, it was discovered that the patient had traces of anticoagulants in her system, leading to suspicions of foul play. The surgical cameras malfunctioned during the procedure, raising questions about possible sabotage.

The media relentlessly questioned Jeong-woo about the anticoagulant traces found in the patient’s body. During the trial, the defense argued that the patient had a history of taking anticoagulants for arrhythmia. However, further incriminating evidence surfaced when another anticoagulant medicine with Jeong-woo’s fingerprints was found in his room. It became evident that someone was deliberately trying to tarnish Jeong-woo’s career.

The ordeal took a toll on Jeong-woo, plunging him into depression, exacerbated by conflicts with childhood friends over a substantial joint debt. Jeong-woo had already incurred significant expenses due to the case and faced the daunting prospect of selling his house to cover legal fees.

Episode 2: Why Does Ha-Neul Quit Work?

When Jeong-Woo visits his friend in the hospital, he unexpectedly runs into Ha-Neul and seizes the opportunity to ask her for a favor to stay at her house. However, his competitive nature resurfaces upon seeing her, and he resorts to petty behavior. They engage in a verbal sparring match about their intelligence until Jeong-Woo’s remarks turn bitter. He cynically comments on Ha-Neul’s apparent happiness and success, warning her that it won’t last and that she’ll eventually hit rock bottom like him. It’s a classic case of both of them thinking the other has it more straightforward, unaware of each struggle.

Later that day, Ha-Neul faces another instance of abuse from her senior, who throws papers at her, causing a cut on her face. Despite being called for the surgery because he’s the cowardly choice and the patient happens to be the hospital chairman’s daughter, Ha-Neul is the one who steps up. As an anesthesiologist, she’s initially just observing, but witnessing her senior struggle to insert the tubes, she offers to take over.

In everything, Ha-Neul seeks help from her psychiatrist, who emphasizes the severity of her condition, citing her heart palpitations and severe anxiety at work. He stresses the urgent need for a break, likening her mental state to a broken bone, a comparison that resonates with her.

Upon returning to the hospital, Ha-Neul finds herself falsely accused by her senior of mishandling the procedure, resulting in the patient’s injuries. Despite apologizing and bowing to the patient, her senior demands she publicly beg for forgiveness on her knees. This proves to be the last straw for Ha-Neul, who decides to stand up for herself. She confronts her senior, speaking informally and refusing to comply with his demands. In a bold move, she physically retaliates, kicking him in the shin as he used to do to her.

Infuriated, her senior threatens to ruin her career if she walks away. However, Ha-Neul reaches her breaking point and decides she’s had enough. Defiantly, she removes her coat and ID card, symbolically quitting her job on the spot, regardless of the consequences.

In the final act of Doctor Slump episode 2, Jeong-Woo encounters Ha-Neul on the street and suggests they grab a drink together. She agrees, but only if they indulge in at least three bottles of Soju. Both in need of a break, they head to the nearest barbecue spot, unknowingly stumbling upon a school reunion happening there.

Things turn sour when Jeong-Woo is insulted by one of the attendees, and his supposed friends fail to defend him. Frustrated and hurt, Jeong-Woo decides to leave with his friends trailing behind him. He confronts them, expressing his disappointment in feeling like the only one who considered them friends. Jeong-Woo reveals how he sacrificed everything, including selling his house and car, to clear their debt, making them realize he might not be as guilty as they initially assumed.

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